The council deliberated all day into twilight, and by this time, the villagers had dispersed to their different homes, knowing that when it was time to pass judgment on the
Osu, the towncrier would beat his gong.
Nkasi’s father was left in front of the chief’s palace, tied to a tree, with his
body dripping with sweat and blood from the cuts on his body. Also, unknown to everyone involved, Nkasi’s mother’s family were already in Umuidim, lurking in the
bushes, and waiting for all to be calm before they came for the man who had taken their daughter’s life.
Nkasi’s father looked up to the sky, like he was asking God for help. He had never been a church person, he believed more on the gods of his fore-fathers, than the Almighty
God whom the Christians preached. His wife was the one who attended church with Nkasi, while he stayed home every Sunday, or went to the local Newspaper stand, to catch up on what was happening in the country.
It seemed like it had been years that he found out that his daughter was the best student in WASSCE, even his fellow bystanders at the newspaper stand had congratulated him that day. But today, he was awaiting death at their hands.
Then he heard footsteps; his heart literally flew into his mouth as he wondered who had come for him. His legs began to tremble; the fear coupled with exhaustion was
almost pulling his legs from under him. He wanted to scream, but who would help him? He wondered. The bush beside the Chief’s palace parted, and his friend, Dede, came out.
Nkasi’s father was relieved because, he knew he couldn’t come to any harm in the hands of a fellow Osu. Dede had a cutlass in his hand, and in two quick strides, he got to where Nkasi’s father was tied. He raised
the cutlass up, and for a moment, Nkasi’s father was afraid that he had been wrong, and Dede, for some reason he did not know, had come to hurt him.
But when the cutlass came down, it cut Nkasi’s father’s bonds in two. His hands were free and without asking questions, he bent down to loosen the one binding his legs. That was when pandemonium broke loose.
Nkasi’s father was still bent, when he heard a piercing scream, he pulled the rope free of his leg, and looked up, he saw four men brandishing newly sharpened cutlasses. Then he realized that these were not strangers to him,
these were his in-laws. Nkasi’s father was sure that they had not come to set him free, they had come to kill him.
Dede was quick on his feet, and he engaged them, Nkasi’s father always lived on this saying “That the coward’s man house is where people stood to look at the brave man’s house burning”, so he took to his heels, running for his dear life. He pitied his friend, Dede, because he was no match for the two who stayed behind, as two had run
Nkasi’s father was so focused on getting away from his assailants that he did not notice the log of wood lying across the path. He ran against it, and with the force of
his speed, he was thrown into the bush. He stood up and saw that he had been thrown into a ditch which was not visible from the road, however his toe nail was off and
bleeding. He quickly covered himself with some leaves and prayed that his in-laws did not find him.
He heard the thud of feet on the path, and assumed that his in-laws had reached where he tripped. He also assumed that the blood on the log of wood would have told them he hurt his leg on the wood, but he hoped that they would not understand that he had been flung into the bush, because then his life would truly end.
Then he heard one of them speak in Igbo that they should move forward,
but then the other was wise enough and said that if Nkasi’s father had gone forward, there would be a trail of blood, but there was no trail of blood.
In-law 1: “If he did not go forward, then where did he go? Did he disappear into thin air?” he asked, in puzzlement.
In-law 2: “How can he disappear?”
In-law 1: “Have you not heard, that the Osu people have diabolic powers?” he asked.
In-law 1: “Diabolic or not, we are going to look for that useless Osu, that killed our sister after he made her an Osu” he said angrily.
Nkasi’s father recognized the voice as that of his late wife’s younger brother.
Nkasi’s father: “I am sorry, my in-laws. I did not mean to kill my wife. It was iwe (anger)” he said and the
realization that his wife was gone forever came on in full force, and he broke down, in gut wrenching sobs.
In-law 1: “Did you hear that?” he asked the other, as he listened to the faint sounds of sobbing. He pulled his partner and they followed the faint sounds, towards Nkasi’s father’s hideout.
After breakfast, Obinna took Nkasi to Florence boutique, where he got her a beautiful, sequined dress, which had a peek-a-boo bodice. The stylist in the boutique sat her before the mirror and raised her natural hair this way and this way. She motioned to a young lady, who came over with a bag in hand, and without a word, went to work on
Nkasi’s natural, unprocessed hair.
The hair stylist pulled her hair into an up do, secured with hair pins, and glossed over with coconut oil. When Nkasi peeked at herself in the mirror, she couldn’t believe her transformation. The stylist was not done, she went to work on Nkasi’s face and afterwards selected a pair of nude platform shoes and a blush toned clutch.
Nkasi: “All these you got me, where will I wear it to?” she asked, with a slight smile.
Obinna: “If you have nowhere to wear it to, put it in your wardrobe” he replied, using his hands to cover his mouth to hide a chuckle.
Nkasi wondered what he was up to.
From the boutique, they stopped over at a jewelry shop, where Obinna walked through the aisles of shiny gem stones.
Nkasi: “This is actually going overboard.”
Obinna: “What is?”
Nkasi: “Buying me any of these expensive things” she said, pointing at the glass showcase.
Obinna: “You must really think highly of yourself. I want to get jewelry for Nk” he said offhandedly. Nkasi was hurt that he was buying an expensive jewelry for NK, his childhood friend.
Nkasi: “Perhaps they are really dating” she thought within, and the war raging inside of her showed on her face, because it was like stone. She turned away so it would not look like she was interested in whatever he was buying, but her eyes were there. She saw him pick up a necklace done with yellow canary diamonds, it was really sparkling and she knew it must be really expensive.
Nkasi: “He must really like her. What was I thinking, that a poor girl like me from Umuidim would be the love interest of someone like Obinna?” she pondered within and hot tears threatened to fall from her eyes. She walked out of the boutique in quick strides, and went to stand in the parking lot.
Obinna: “Nkasi, why are you looking like someone whose husband died? It is your birthday, so cheer up” he said with a coy smile, as he opened the back door of the car and put the jewelry case, carefully on the seat.
Nkasi just hopped into the car and slammed the door, without saying a word to him. They drove in silence, and when they got to the gate, Nkasi got out before the wheels stopped and dashed to the front door. On the way home, she had decided to stay
as far away from Obinna as possible, she felt he had led her on for nothing, and now she was stranded.
Nkasi: “What am I going to do with the feelings I have for him now?” she had asked herself. When she opened the door, everywhere was dark, she turned back and saw Obinna making a call, she sighed
and went into the darkness. That was when the lights came on, and a shout of “Happy birthday” rent the air.
Nkasi was stunned by the number of people in the living room, they were all dressed gaily, and her birthday cake was center stage. She saw Obinna’s parents laughing and
cheering. She didn’t know how to react; she was overflowing with happiness and sadness. She was happy that Obinna’s parents had gone the length to celebrate her
birthday, but she was sad that she was not going to be in their lives for long.
Another decision she had made on the way home was to leave the house and go squat in the school’s hostel. If she put distance between herself and Obinna, she could let go of the feelings she felt for him. However, when she turned back, she saw Obinna holding out the jewelry case to her, and smiling sheepishly.
Obinna: “This jewelry is birthday present number two. You think I would buy something as expensive as this for Nk? I had to tell you that so as not to spoil the surprise. Now
take this, go upstairs and change. The party is just getting started and the celebrant and her boyfriend cannot be looking like they gate crashed” he said with a smile.
Nkasi ran towards him and embraced him, as cameras flashed. While Obinna’s parents smiled and cheered.
Question: Will Nkasi’s father be found by his in-laws? Also, is it possible that Nkasi’s dream will not come through, seeing as Obinna’s parents have accepted her?